Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The way we pray...

A friend phoned first thing this morning, worried about how to pray for the situation in the Middle East, on the borders of Israel. We discussed the whole thing at length - I'd already replied to an email of his, with some background information I'd gleaned from Wikipedia about the conflict, and the various sides and factions involved. As we talked, the sense grew more and more acute, that we were wandering further down a blind alley. We'd never arrive at an answer, a formula for prayer, however much information we gathered, or however much we thought it through.

I suddenly remembered Julian of Norwich:

"Then the way we often pray came into my mind and how, through lack of knowing and understanding of the ways of love, we pester him with petitions. Then I saw truly that it gives more praise to God and more delight if we pray steadfast in love trusting his goodness, clinging to him by grace than if we ask for everything our thoughts can name. All our petitions fall short of God, and are too small to be worthy of him, and his goodness encompasses all that we can think to ask. The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God knowing that the goodness can reach right down to our lowest depths of need."

Showings (Long Text) Chapter 6

Or as Paul said in Romans 8.26-27, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. "

Why is it so hard to remember this? Why do I, after all these years, still find myself feeling I need to know, to find answers, still speaking as though I imagine I have to inform and advise the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the I AM, for whom and through whom all things exist...?

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